Cautious caveats are a MSM prerequisite when reporting the passing of a pre-Woke pop cultural icon today. The BBC News website was naturally required to pay tribute to Sean Connery, whose death at the age of 90 (yes, hard to believe, I know) has been announced; but it also had to stick to the post-MeToo BBC ‘toxic masculinity’ agenda. Therefore, the site’s ‘tribute’ included such Bond era disclaimers as ‘The action scenes are still thrilling; but the sex bordered on the non-consensual’ and ‘Thankfully it’s been a while since 007 slapped a woman on the backside and forced a kiss’. Yes, we’re sad he’s snuffed it, even though he was a horribly misogynistic symbol of the patriarchy as viewed through the stony-faced prism of the century without irony. Personally, I found Connery’s Caribbean tax-exile cheerleading for the SNP far more offensive (not to say hypocritical) than his portrayal of a cartoonish character created before the male of the species was emasculated by the feminisation of the arts, but maybe that’s just me.

Connery’s death comes at the end of a week that has seen a swift succession of deaths of men whose marks were made in a different era – Frank Bough, Bobby Ball, Nobby Stiles – and one cannot help but feel the begrudging necessity of the mainstream media having to mark these deaths when none of them were transgender People of Colour is an inconvenience to the revolution. At least they’re all gone now, eh? But it means jack shit, anyway; by the time Sean Connery returned to the Bond fold following George Lazenby’s one-movie interregnum, he already looked out of shape and irrelevant, bearing the kind of shabby toupée even Frank Sinatra would’ve rejected. 1971’s ‘Diamonds are Forever’ is arguably the worst 007 outing for Connery (nobody acknowledges 1983’s woeful ‘Never Say Never Again’) and it was evident the world had moved on – as had the man himself.

1971 was the year that saw the release of both ‘Shaft’ and ‘Get Carter’ – next to those two, the creaky ‘Diamonds are Forever’ looks like a period piece done for no other reason than spinning the money for a franchise sorely in need of a contemporary reboot. The Bond series was waiting for the knowing, eyebrow-raising archness of Roger Moore to place it firmly in its own cinematic universe of unreality as a means of surviving the nasty new decade, whilst Moore’s predecessor had the nous to be looking elsewhere. 1974’s surreal and disturbing ‘Zardoz’ is far closer to the confused spirit of the early 70s, as is 1972’s ‘The Offence’, the film that brought Connery back down to earth as a Scottish CID man investigating the rape of a young girl whilst struggling to keep a lid on his own unhealthy urges. Both should be held up as examples of an actor willing to spread his wings. Sean Connery was deconstructing his popular image on celluloid half-a-century before the so-called ‘intelligentsia’ caught up with him.

By the 1980s, Sean Connery was established as the kind of old-school leading man who always played the same character, whatever the movie. The likes of ‘Robin and Marian’, ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ and ‘Time Bandits’ are rightly recognised as evidence Connery could be versatile if required, but they didn’t put enough bums on seats to justify the undoubtedly hefty fee the star received to appear in them; therefore, Connery was smoothly assimilated into that pantheon of Hollywood A-listers, happy to grace any old shit with his heavyweight brand if it paid well enough. And that’s essentially where he remained before deciding to retire from the silver screen in the early 2000s; what else was there left for him to do? Anyone who can simply sit down and enjoy a classic Bond movie on its own terms cannot fail but appreciate nobody did it better, to paraphrase a later theme tune by Carly Simon.

I guess for many outside of the Woke bubble, the passing of one of this country’s genuine cinematic giants comes as a brief respite in the relentless assault on the senses courtesy of the pro-lockdown propaganda. In a way, it’s almost a relief to hear of a death that has no connection with something we’re being unconvincingly persuaded is worth destroying society for in order to temporarily stem the unavoidable tide of. Stay safe, stay miserable, save lives, kill yourself. The threat of another futile nationwide lockdown looms as Johnson, Sturgeon, Macron and Merkel lower their respective drawbridges and plunge Europe deeper into the Dark Ages that the complementary forces of Radical Islam and BLM/Antifa/ER/SJWs have already laid the ground for. God only knows how future historians will summarise this era, but when it comes to Blighty I think we can probably safely say the scale of the disaster to come will surpass the respective misfires of Chamberlain and Munich, Eden and Suez – even Blair and Iraq.

I don’t credit Johnson with sole responsibility as PM, for it’s not as if he’s been isolated as a deluded voice in the wilderness amidst a wave of strong and stable opposition to any move made by his administration. The same elite that fought tooth-and-claw to prevent the Brexit verdict being enacted has no party affiliation and has pressed long and hard for a return to the measures that made life such fun in the spring and summer because they’re alright, Jack. Yes, even that self-appointed spokesperson for the lower orders, the Labour Party, has inexplicably come to the conclusion that the one sure-fire way to punish ‘Tory Scum’ for denying free meals to children of the poor is to guarantee the poor remain on the breadline by preventing them from earning a living or living a healthy, fulfilled life. Keep them down and then they can be weaponised as a useful grenade to toss from one side of the House to the other. Honestly, I wouldn’t piss on any of them if they were on fire.

Echoing some of the sentiments I made in the previous post when describing a brief immersion in nature, I draw some solace from a wonderful site I visit regularly by the name of ‘Brain Pickings’. Not only has it proven to be a useful source of birthday/Christmas gifts in its promotion of overlooked books that deserve a far wider audience, but it routinely reminds the reader of how past authors and poets have confronted the crises of their own eras – something that can be a useful bulwark against ours. In the latest post, the 19th century wordsmith Walt Whitman was quoted. ‘After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, love and so on,’ he said, ‘what remains? Nature remains; to bring out from their torpid recesses, the affinities of a man or a woman with the open air, the trees, fields, the changes of seasons – the sun by day and the stars of heaven by night.’

I received a further sample when engaged in my weekly Saturday morning outing walking a friend’s dog this morning; mixed with my admiration of the dazzling shades of yellow on offer at my feet, I mused with discernible envy on the basic requirements of our canine companions – food, shelter, walk, and that’s all you need. No existential dilemmas, just TLC; give a dog that and they never forget; they instantly decide you’re their best friend for life. Maybe their lives being so short liberates them from the encumbrance of the vaster and bigger picture of mankind that can be such an obstacle to the kind of internal tranquillity that has so far been impervious to the encroachment of the Surveillance State into our every thought. So far, I say. The way things are going, we can’t take anything for granted anymore. You only live twice, after all.

© The Editor


You grab what you can these days. This morning, I was momentarily mesmerised by colours – rich, pulsating, vivacious colours eternally immune to the latest tawdry vagaries of mankind, colours that keep providing free entertainment whatever happens to be going on around them. Dependable and reliable, they’ll always be there in the autumn, regardless of what we and our elected idiots deem important; to pause and study these transient, organic works of art is a worthwhile exercise, if only as a necessary reminder that there’s more to life than this. Of course, October morphing into November is the time of the year in which Mother Nature’s immortal garden is at its most exquisite, offering a greater range of the rainbow’s wide variety than during any other season. Not intending to ape Monty Don, I was engaged in something that has become an increasing rarity of late – an outdoor venture that didn’t require entering a retail outlet as a central aim of the excursion. This meant I was spared having to cover the lower half of my face and every step left me free to breathe my surroundings.

I strayed farther afield from the usual hunting grounds and ghosted through gated communities like the late, great Martin Peters used to ghost through opposition defences. Incidentally, these are the kind of neighbourhoods that tend to be home to provincial footballers who may never be selected to play for their countries but can nevertheless boast the kind of monthly take-home pay most need a full year to earn. Big houses representing all suburban styles of the past 100 years or so could be sighted behind high hedges and walls – Victorian, Edwardian, Tudorbethan, and the archetypal 21st century castle of the self-made man, lacking any semblance of taste, aesthetic appeal or class when the only architectural way is Essex; there was something for everyone as long as you’ve got the wads to become the freeholder, and that rules out everyone most people know, I guess. I may have once pictured myself as a Howard Hughes-like figure patrolling the battlements, but I remain firmly in my designated scuffed shoes as the urchin with his nose pressed against the alluring window.

There’s a certain timelessness to such places; the suburbs were frozen around half-a-century ago, and though the hidden-from-view residents may change (if at a more gradual pace than anywhere else), the absence of contemporary Reggie Perrin’s has had no discernible impact on the visual stasis which streets like these slipped into back when Sunshine Desserts had yet to go bust. The urban environment and its irredeemably ugly pavement furniture alters on a regular basis – usually going from bad to worse; but the suburbs still look much the same as they did when I was a child. In this purely visual respect, they tend to generate a comforting continuity apparently impervious to the march of time. They are the last survivors of a different age, clandestine portals to the past clinging on in clusters of leafy bubbles dotted around the fringes of densely-populated conurbations. Clocks go backwards and clocks go forwards, tick follows tock and so on – and the suburbs are still standing.

The only indication of the here and now I received on my travels today was a post box that had an official-looking sticker on it that proclaimed not only was it ‘prioritised’ but it also supported the NHS. A post box with a social conscience – you don’t get that on yer average council estate, eh? I felt compelled to clap for it, but resisted the temptation. Bar the odd student going from A to B, most faces I spotted in snatches as brief as that of the odd squirrel darting across branches looked like they were aged between 60 and 70 – the socially-mobile generation reclining in the now-unimaginable fruits of their distant labours. For some reason – the demands of grandchildren, perhaps – goalposts figure highly in the glimpses of sunken gardens on the other side of the divide separating queen’s highway from private kingdom. I remember, many years ago, ‘Blue Peter’ visited Elton John’s house and he had a full-sized football pitch in the grounds of his estate; it seemed like the sort of extravagance only a millionaire could indulge in, but now even those who are paupers next to Elton can emulate such extravagance, albeit on a smaller scale – just as they once peppered their miniature greenbelts with gnomes.

Perhaps goalposts in the garden are the only real addition to the suburbs’ exterior decor in recent years; otherwise, it’s as you were. In fact, it is maybe the uniquely unchanging and unmistakable uniformity of Suburbia that is its secret weapon; it has a canny camouflage that enables the visitor to pass through without even noticing what he’s passing through, familiar to the point of invisibility. I’ve no doubt been guilty myself on endless occasions, though now I notice – and appreciate – such surroundings more and more, probably because each successive day seems to detach me further from ‘the modern world’ and its rapidly diminishing checklist of attractions. In the same way my indoor life of the last six months has lived off a menu of comfort food for eyes and ears – whether watching ‘The Sweeney’ or listening to Julie London and Peggy Lee – my outdoor life, for what it is, has been rationed as bite-sized portions of automated and ultimately joyless shopping on one hand and rare meanderings like today on the other.

In the great scheme of things, my morning amounted to absolutely nothing; but at least I had a moment in which I ground to a halt and simply looked at all the shades of green and brown and orange and red around me and felt briefly connected to something – what, precisely, I don’t really know. I guess it was a momentary plugging-in to that sense of basic wonderment we have with nature as a child, one we lose the longer we live and the more blasé we become with what’s around us so that it sheds its initial magic. One receives a routine reminder whenever seeing a toddler out with its mother as it points dramatically at a snail on the ground, announcing its presence as though the modest mollusc is the most amazing sight those infant eyes have ever set upon; the unimpressed parent has seen a hundred snails and hurries the child along, incapable of being transfixed in the same way. I played the parent to my own child once my moment had gone by resuming the walk home; the moment swiftly drifted from my consciousness as I edged away from the tranquil vortex of the suburbs and returned to the petrol-scented cacophony of a congested thoroughfare

So, back to a world in which those who govern certain corners of the kingdom decide what and what aren’t ‘essential items’ whilst others advocate applying Hate Crime laws to private conversations, where tampon manufacturers refer to their customers as ‘people who bleed’, and where a crumbling superpower forces its people to choose between a crass bully and a geriatric sex-pest to lead it towards tomorrow. If those are the options, who can really blame me – or anyone – for finding something of value in the extraordinary ordinary?

© The Editor


autumnToday’s the day the world recognises the onset of autumn via the arrival of the September Equinox; at one (brief) time it also marked the start of the French Revolutionary Calendar, though that hasn’t had any relevance for over 200 years. Most of us here tend to associate the end of summer with the changing of the clocks, even if we don’t return to Greenwich Mean Time until the end of October. By then, the ‘Indian Summer’ we often enjoy at the beginning of September (and we’ve certainly experienced with record temperatures this September) is being slowly ushered away by the chilly autumnal breezes that scatter the leaves and necessitate the hibernation of the summer wardrobe.

The changing of the seasons as we approach the back-end of the year is usually greeted in Britain by ‘senior citizens’ with resigned shakes of the head and accompanying pessimistic observations uttered in a dismal, Eeyore-like tone, as though the transformation from one season to another was a newfangled innovation like decimalisation. ‘Ooh, it’s getting darker on a night now’ or ‘Ooh, I had to put the central heating on, it was so cold last night’ or the classic ‘Ooh, it’ll soon be Christmas.’ But this is always a curious juncture of the year, when the football season is well underway yet the cricket season is still active, if drawing to its conclusion; and because the clocks have yet to be put forward an hour it still has the feel of summer.

Admittedly, it does often seem as though the last three months before ‘Christmas Month’ are ones the country yearns to speed through, as if everything the year has to offer is already over and done with. In many respects, the great events that mark the calendar year generally tend to take place before September, so it’s no wonder that is the impression given. With the possible exception of February, October and November are the most overlooked of months and ones it feels like everybody views as unnecessary inconveniences they just want to get out-of-the-way. The retail sector certainly does its utmost to bypass them; bar the brief interlude of the newly-Americanised institution of Halloween, Christmas is shoved down the shopper’s throat from almost the very moment August has evaporated. We have to be constantly reminded how we’re inexorably careering towards December 25, though I can’t quite fathom why anyone over the age of ten would give a toss.

Perhaps the problem when one has lived long enough is that certain times of the year inevitably retain the associations they had when we were children; and yet they are utterly illusory now. Whenever we reach autumn, I find it hard not to anticipate its arrival as it was back then, even if virtually all of those archaic associations are long gone and redundant in 2016. Belated realisations that the pleasures derived from what once constituted autumn are pleasures I can no longer access possibly generates the aforementioned Eeyore response in those who experience a similar disheartening sensation. Autumn therefore becomes little more than an ominous prelude to the bleak winter of astronomical fuel bills and freezing water pipes – hardly something to celebrate.

There are somewhat negative connotations within cultural corners too – ‘the autumn of my years’ being a term signifying the beginning of life’s slow descent into reflection, regret, senility and death. Frank Sinatra sang of himself as being at that stage of his life in his finest late recording, ‘It Was a Very Good Year’, yet he lived for another thirty years after committing it to vinyl. Few would want to volunteer for the dubious accolade of being in ‘the autumn of my years’, however; it suggests surrender, raising a white flag rather than raging against the dying of the light, a mournful, terminal train ride towards a destination with a longer stretch of track behind it than in front of it. What a depressing thought.

Jeremy Paxman’s recent spat with the OAP population of this country was portrayed as the deliberately offensive Clarkson-esque rant of a man in denial of his own advancing years, though I understood to a degree where he was coming from. As with every age group from teenagers onwards there is an assumption that ‘we all want the same thing’ and that we will adhere to the portrait of us painted by the advertising industry, which not only simplifies everything to the lowest common denominator cliché, but assumes that everybody belongs to an easily identifiable demographic. Passing 60 being summed up by images of stairlifts, walk-in baths, Werther’s Originals, slippers, cardigans and chunky sweaters is indeed appalling and unappealing. That to me was what Paxman’s rant was about, the apathetic acceptance of someone else’s ideal of maturity rather than having a go at oldies in general. With life expectancy longer than it has been in living memory, falling back on those outdated images and implying the last (potentially) thirty years of life will look just like that is enough to provoke a rush of flights to Switzerland.

Overseas autumn holidays are now quite commonplace, with October in the sun viewed as a preferable alternative to October at home. Yet, October in the sun is much the same as April in the sun or August in the sun; it’s the bloody sun. A country with a climate that doesn’t alter from one season to the next, certainly not in the dramatic manner with which it does here, just wouldn’t feel right or as rewarding to me. The bliss of one is a reward for the hardship of another. It’s almost as though the welcome gift of spring, for example, is earned as opposed to given. But maybe that’s simply due to us being on an island and we enjoy/endure the island climate.

It’s all-too easy to dwell on the downside of autumn and what it represents in purely climactic terms; and yet, I spy with my aesthetic eye the most visually rich of seasons when autumn transforms the landscape. The bruised fruit ochre shades of marmalade make a walk in the park an atmospheric excursion through the shifting carpet laid by the wind from the dry-roasted crispy cast-offs of the trees. Nature can always have the power to marvel if we raise our heads above the parapet of concerns imposed by man and machine.

© The Editor